I don’t want to write a novel for you guys, so I will do my best to just touch on the various feelings I had throughout the race.
Start line to 10 km
First, I was confused that two intersections were not closed off. Then I realized they probably couldn’t have since they were two major intersections. So they had timing mats before and after the intersection that would pause and start up your chip time. So the time that was published onto my FB automatically was incorrect since it didn’t take that into consideration. I realized I started off WAY too fast. I kept saying to myself “slow down,” but did I? NOPE. I scrapped the strategy I had in place for weeks.. and just let my ego take over. Mistake #2. What was #1 you ask? oh, well I did the biggest rookie mistake. Wore crappy socks. So I had blisters within the first 10 km. Lovely right? My own fault on both parts. So I deserved it.
I didn’t feel too bad on Camosun. I had been warned about this hill before. I remember Jess talking about that hill when I ran with her last year on 16th Ave for a few steps! I think I made it up to be horrible in my head and had ran MANY horrible long hills in my training to prep for it. So I felt pretty good running the entire hill.
11 km to 21.1 km
At 12 km, my friend Caroline and her dog were out in the rain cheering! SO sweet of her to brave the conditions. Really meant so much to see her pretty face (seriously! thank you so much for coming out! just those few seconds of seeing you gave me such a boost and totally made my morning!). Then after the out and back on Blanca, around 15ish km….I got a bad case of the “negative nancys.” I was doing what I could to not focus on how much I didn’t want to be out there. Just focused on my music and other things I am looking forward to in the upcoming months. Mistake #3 “hey maybe I can get to the half way point earlier and REALLY pick it up to be within minutes of my previous time! (sub 4 hr).” NOPE. Bad idea Jenn.. but did I go for it anyway? YUP. *eye roll*
I hit the half way point with a chip time of 2:15:19
Sore? YUP. Tighhhhht hips and two blister growing by the minute.
21.2 km to 32 km
At 22 ish km I saw my friend Jon. (Jon, thank you SO much for coming out. Gotta say, little scared to see those pictures you took. I felt like a hot mess!) My gosh. Then at 22.8ish km, I saw Steven. Steven and I met at our first marathon clinic at the Running Room. He ran with me for a few yards and then peeled off. Then at 23 km, I saw my Dad. THAT really surprised me. He had been following me on “find my friends” app. Seriously great idea for those who have runners in their family. Makes tracking them on course easy. He took a billion and one pictures and video clips of me and my rat nest hair. Rain, running + long hair = I BIG MESS.
I had to adjust my shoe about 3 or 4 times around 25 km. The tongue of the shoe started to fold and then put pressure on my foot and made it super sore. Since feet can swell during this kind of distance, this wasn’t a surprise. Annoying to stop and retie over and over to get the right tightness though! Around 29- 30 km I got a second wind, sorta. The Burrard St bridge has been my nemesis since running BMO back before they changed the course. The old course went over the bridge twice and the slight incline used to kill me. But since my brother and I run it regularly, it felt good to be running up it strong! After getting into English Bay and seeing “32 km” on the big blue km marker.. I kept thinking “okay.. only 10.2 km left, Jenn.” Little did I know how brutal this 10 km was going to be..
33 km to the finish line
BRUTAL. At this point, most runners are kinda mentally all over the place. So instead of signaling or looking behind them before they stop dead in their tracks.. they just stop anyway. Great when you have little coordination in your body. There were a lot of close calls, but no crashes for me! The rain and gusts of wind around some corners were hard to deal with, but I stuck with my 10 and 1 run to walk ratio regardless of how sore I was. The thing about this park is, you forget how long the seawall is when you have already run in the rain for a few hours. I was constantly running and thinking “okay, the bridge is around this corner…NOPE…” Annoying but it is what it is. There are a lot of holes and drains to watch for as well on this path, so it could make running tricky.
37 km, the emotions kicked in. I was reflecting on things I went through last year (recap of this below for those who don’t know). My eyes were tearing up, but I choked it all back. Then 38 km? bring on the inspirational quotes from Children’s hospital patients. I read maybe two of them and I was getting the lower lip quiver, Seeing beautiful words that were said from these brave children. AH, way to make a girl want to cry! Did my best not to cry again, though. These tears were not sad tears. They were tears of being proud of how far I have come mentally. It wasn’t easy…and I lost a lot of belief in myself last year. NOW I was showing myself that I was a lot stronger than I thought I was. 40 km? I couldn’t hold the tears any more. I did start crying quietly to myself as I shuffled. Hips full of pain, lungs a bit sore from huffing and puffing, but a lot of pride in my heart. Seeing the 1 km left marker? GOSH I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was…however it was uphill. Drats. When the finisher gates came up, I did my best to choke the tears back again. I sped up as much as my body would let me. I always like to finish a race hard, but my body physically could only let me get up to a 6:05 pace. My stride was significantly shorter for the last 10 km of the run since my hips were so tight.
I finished with an official chip time of 4:34:29. With an average pace of 6:31/ km.
Little back story…
As you know, this was my 8th full marathon. However, it was my first marathon back after a year and a bit off. If you have been gone for a while, here is a fast-ish recap of why I stopped in the first place.
After finishing my research for my final university paper on female body shaming (more specifically with women with muscle) I thought I would try to do one competition. I interviewed a few competitors and it seemed like an interesting lifestyle to me. Something was very intriguing, but scary for me nonetheless. Anyway, I hired a coach and hired them for 4 months until I realized how damaging it all was to me. My obsessive personality traits came out. I was constantly looking for a new change in my body everyday. I lost weight TOO fast. I ate the same meals every single day for a month. I was in the gym 2 times a day 5 days a week. I was told to stop doing what I loved most.. running distance. After stopping the work with the coach, I was in a dark space. My disordered eating was triggered, and to top it off one of my family members passed. It all spiraled me out into a very dark place. I felt super lost and lonely, even though I wasn’t physically alone. I felt like I was going crazy and I didn’t know how to explain it to my husband at all until I had a breakdown one night. We decided that something had to happen to see change. This wasn’t okay. I knew something had to be changed around and I looked to getting back into running. So I didn’t run consistently from mid April to about December. Just the odd run here and there. Since I did put on about 20ish lbs, and I absolutely was ANGRY with myself…this didn’t seem like an easy task at all.
I decided the marathon was what I needed back in my life. Those months leading up to training, and the 4 months of training for the race were an uphill battle. A lot of self hate and self doubt…soon turned into more self love and only a little doubt ;). I was slowly seeing ME again. So you may be able to see how this race was such an emotional one for me. I felt fearless in that moment. Though I was an emotional mess and in a lot of pain.. I felt on top of the world. That I could do anything. THIS is one of the many reasons I love this distance. It shows me that I CAN do whatever I put my mind and work into.